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Nicholas Paul "Nick" Enright
(December 22, 1950 - March 30, 2003) Australia

Nick Enright

Playwright, lyricist, teacher, actor, director


Nicholas Paul "Nick" Enright was born in Maitland, NSW, Australia. He was born to a prosperous East Maitland professional Catholic family. He was drama captain of St Ignatius' College, Riverview in 1964, where, like Gerard Windsor and Justin Fleming, he was taught by Melvyn Morrow. At that school, he won the 1sts Debating Premiership in both 1966 and 1967. It was expected that he would follow the law.

During 1971 and 1972 Enright was a member of Sydney's Genesian Theatre, performing in A Doll's House and Uncle Vanya , and directing London Assurance . Enright received a pass BA from Sydney University in 1972, having decided not to proceed to an honours degree as might have been expected of one so formidably intelligent.

He worked as a gofer for Sydney's Nimrod Theatre before being appointed a trainee director at the Melbourne Theatre Company. He won an Australia Council Fellowship to study directing at New York University, graduating in 1977. On his return to Australia, he joined the State Theatre Company of South Australia as actor and director, later becoming Associate Director. He was Head of Acting at the NIDA in 1983 and 1984.

He was encouraged to write plays while at NYU by one of his teachers. His plays - which include French and Italian translations and adaptations - have been performed by all major Australian theatre companies. His one-act theatre-in-education play A Property of the Clan was developed into the full-length play, and later film, Blackrock (1997). He wrote the book and lyrics to a number of musical works.

His adaptation, with Justin Monjo, of Tim Winton's Cloudstreet enjoyed huge critical and box-office success at the Festivals of Sydney and Perth (whose co-production it was), on tour of Australia, at the Festival of Dublin, and in London. He wrote for ABC Radio. His non-dramatic work includes a book for children, The Maitland and Morpeth String Quartet (illustrated by Victoria Roberts), a set of verses for The Carnival of the Animals , and occasional verse. He edited Holding the Man , a memoir by his former NIDA student, Timothy Conigrave, and, following Conigrave's death, saw it to publication by Penguin Books.

His plays deal sympathetically and insightfully with mainly lower-class Australians. Two exceptions concern his time at Riverview: St. James Infirmary Blues (he subsequently dropped 'Blues' from the title), and a teleplay for the ABC; in addition, his unproduced and unpublished play, Harper's Hill , deals with the sort of prosperous Hunter Region people among whom he was raised, though significantly distanced by time (the play is set in the early 20th Century). He had a great ease with, and love of, words, which made him an outstanding lyricist – a talent he tended to deprecate.

Although he was openly gay, he never found his longed-for committed relationship. After 15 years in remission, melanoma recurred; he died of cancer on 30 March 2003, at age 52.


Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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